Why the Falcons Hired Raheem Morris: Atlanta Pivoting to a Familiar Face as Head Coach

Why did the Falcons, who were linked to Bill Belichick, suddenly reverse course and lure back Raheem Morris? Here's why the Rams DC fits again.

Four years after guiding the Atlanta Falcons on an interim basis, Raheem Morris is heading back to the franchise. But this time, he’s getting full control of the head coaching reins.

Why the Falcons Are Hiring Raheem Morris

The former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Morris was officially named the newest head coach of the Falcons on Thursday. In addition to the new hire, Morris and general manager Terry Fontenot will now report to Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank, not CEO Rich McKay as it was.

Atlanta moved on from Arthur Smith following three consecutive seven-win seasons. But none of his Falcons teams clinched the NFC South title or a playoff berth — despite how winnable that division became.

Smith was surrounded by an abundance of talent who were taken in the top 10 of the NFL Draft: tight end Kyle Pitts, wide receiver Drake London, and running back Bijan Robinson.

Yet, the offensive guru produced units that underachieved — even with all three on the field. A big reason was Smith’s inability to find a consistent starter behind center, as he went from Desmond Ridder to Taylor Heinicke.

Morris not only brings familiarity with the franchise as the 2020 interim head coach of the team, but “Rah” will now have two Super Bowl rings in tow.

As defensive coordinator for the Rams, Morris won his second Super Bowl championship in his first season with the team in 2021. That Rams unit placed 15th in scoring defense and 17th in yards allowed, featured two All-Pros in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, and produced 50 sacks.

That same Rams defense also added Von Miller during a pivotal midseason trade that helped spark their run at the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Since the SB run, Morris has won over members of the Rams for his personality and ability to instill confidence in his players. This especially became evident during their 2023 playoff run with a younger group of defenders.

Morris’ unit witnessed rookie interior defensive lineman Kobie Turner lead the team with nine sacks. Fellow rookie Byron Young finished second with eight sacks. Meanwhile, third-year inside linebacker Ernest Jones produced his best campaign under Morris’ coaching with 145 total tackles.

However, Morris will return to Atlanta with his added area of expertise in wide receivers. He served as WR coach and passing game coordinator from 2015 to 2019. He’ll attempt to find a way to make better use of London, Pitts, and Robinson on passes out of the backfield.

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Morris will also likely have an imprint on who the Falcons will bring in at quarterback, with Atlanta holding the No. 8 spot in the first round. Jayden Daniels of LSU has come to mind as a possible option.

Atlanta clearly wants someone who’s more hands-on with developing younger talent and who already knows the organization. Morris has the personality and fiery coaching to win over the current group of Falcons.

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